Monday, 31 March 2014

Waratah - Could she lie off the Continental Shelf?

The nearest point of the Continental Abyss off Port St. Johns is the head of a great undersea canyon, 12 to 15 nautical miles due West of Cape Hermes lighthouse (SA Marine Geosciences Series 1).

This was discovered by the UCT Research ship 'Thomas B. Davie'.

"...Off the east coast the continental shelf is narrow and quite irregular,
particularly near Port St. Johns, where it is cut by several canyons....".

I believe the Waratah foundered 3.247 nautical miles north east of Cape Hermes (on the Durban side). According to the reference above, the nearest point of the Continental Abyss is on the western side of Cape Hermes. The Waratah, as Captain Bruce related, should be resting on the Continental Shelf in an estimated 36 m of water. Why, if this is the case, has she not yet been discovered? The Umzimvubu River which flows into Port St. Johns deposits large quantities of silt into the bay, and the Waratah may very well be buried beneath a layer of sediment.

I do not believe the Waratah lies in the Abyss.

My thanks go to Kevin Oram who provided me with information on the Continental Shelf.



The Continental Shelf off New York - note how relatively narrow it is, demarcated by the Shelf Break descending into the Continental Slope and ending in the Abyssal Plane

The Abyss off Port St. Johns is estimated to be at least 4500 m deep


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